Defusing escalating behaviour through the use of interactive light scenarios





Yvonne de Kort, PhD, MSc 
Full professor

Environmental Psychology
Eindhoven University of Technology 
Human Technology Interaction (HTI)
PO Box 513 
The Netherlands

E-mail Y.A.W.d.Kort@tm.tue.nl


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Research interests

My research over the years has covered two general domains, one on the intersection between spaces, technology and health, exploring how physical or mediated environments impact restoration from stress and positive emotions, and how to meet the needs for specific user groups including the elderly in general, psycho-geriatric patients, persons in clinical settings or children. The second domain centred on spaces, technology and social interaction. It explored how physical spaces and communication media influence, shape and enhance social interaction. This included studies in virtual reality, social interaction in and around digital games, and locatedness in mediated social interaction. These general themes still define my research today, but within that domain I have found a strong focus in research on light and lighting.

Since a number of years, the core of my research is in the effects of light and natural views on human functioning. This encompasses a variety of effects, including mood and wellbeing, vitality, attention and performance, health and social behaviour. It is a complex field, requiring us to bring together insights from lighting technology, perception studies, social and environmental psychology, biology and neuroscience. At the same time, through our unique position in a technical university, our ambition includes the translation of fundamental insights in human responses to light to implications for the design of environments, lighting scenarios, and lighting technologies. Around this theme I have established my own research program within HTI and I manage an interdisciplinary program line within ILI. Both programs are thriving with Postdoc, PhD and MSc projects, and a growing involvement of research staff. Within my own program I see three related research themes:

Vitalizing effects of diurnal light for day-active people.

This program concentrates on non-image forming (NIF) effects of light. It builds on the line that Karin Smolders and I initiated and now includes a Postdoc project (PILCS) and PhD projects within the Impulse program (flagship lighting) in addition to BSc and MSc projects. We have a unique take on NIF aspects of light through our focus on diurnal light for day-active people.

Preventive and protective potential of healthy light regimes for mental health.

This program builds on my earlier restorative research and the work Femke Beute and I performed during her PhD. The line combines IF and NIF effects of light and is quite unique due to our perspective on preventive as opposed to curative effects through light therapy. It includes the TU/e campus main building project, relates to work in the Impulse program, MSc and BSc projects and several proposals have been submitted or are in preparation.

Social effects of (dynamic) lighting schemes.

This program largely builds on the image-forming system, i.e. the visual experience of light and colour. It relates to environmental and social psychology and uniquely strives to go beyond the canned and isolated effects pursued in research laboratories to also test and demonstrate beneficial effects in the real world. Our main project in this line is the De-escalate project, again supported by multiple PhD and MSc student projects. To learn more about this exciting projects, or see some recent items about it on national TV, please see: http://www.de-escalate.nl/